Taking up a petition seeking the implementation of the minimum support price (MSP) policy of agricultural produce, the Punjab and Haryana high court has issued notices of motion to the Centre, Punjab and Haryana governments, along with 10 nodal agencies assigned the role of purchasing the produce.
The petition, filed by Gurnam Singh and other members of the Bhartiya Kissan Union of Haryana, came up for hearing on Friday before the division bench comprising acting chief justice Ashutosh Mohunta and justice HS Sidhu. The case would now come up for the next hearing on September 22.
The petitioner union alleged that the MSP had been fixed much below the actual cost of production and even this MSP was also not being provided to farmers.
"These are the reasons that farmers are being pushed to a state of affairs where they have no option but to commit suicide. The National Crime Records Bureau record shows that between 1995 and 2010, there were 2.56 lakh suicides of Indian farmers. A substantial number of these are related to the impact of the agrarian crises," the petitioners informed the court.
It was submitted that last year, the MSP for sunflower was Rs 3,700 per quintal, but it was purchased for Rs 2,600-2,900 per quintal. It was added that around 48,000 quintals of sunflower arrived at the Shahbad market for sale and the loss was calculated at an average of Rs 500 per quintal to farmers, which came out to be more than Rs 4 crore.
The production of maize in Punjab last year was 16 lakh tonnes and the MSP was Rs 1,600 per quintal, but the crop was sold at Rs 500-800 per quintal and the loss to farmers came out to be thousands of crores.
The petitioner union also sought directions that the losses caused to farmers should be fully compensated.